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Posts posted by BeJam

  1. Thanks for the ideas. I did a quick look around coffeegeek but didn't find anything. Barratza replied this morning, but suggested I'd gotten coffee grounds wedged beneath the lower burr. I don't think that's possible given that I'd never taken the lower burr off before. But they are sending me some washers to compensate for the poor performance.

  2. I thought that after three or four years, I should change both top and bottom burrs on my original maestro. (Not the plus.) Anyway, after I worked through the oversize-gasket issue, cleaned out all the old miscellaneous bean parts and got the whole thing back together again, the grind settings were way off. Even at the smallest setting I couldn't grind coffee fine enough for espresso. Before the change, I ground espresso at the 5 or 6 setting.

    Anyway, I took the whole thing apart and put the old parts back in, but that did not change or the fix the problem. It seems as if I'm missing some mysterious part, but I'm sure I didn't loose anything and am sure I put it back together the same way.

    I did email Barratza and got a quick reply that didn't help my situation and I'm waiting for a follow up.

    Has anyone else tried to replace burrs, only to find they've completely messed up the settings?

  3. Interesting, BeJam. Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems to me that historical habits like this one tend to come back as a way to show off/establish class. Hmmm.

    Well owning your own cutlery in the 15th century was definitely a class distinguisher, but, until today, I would have argued that a personal fork and knife set would not have been a class elevator but rather a bit of a status item within a certain class. Just how high up the social ladder is the Swiss Army and exactly how many parts does your little red knife have?

    Using this Shun knife seems a little similar to brining your own knife/fork to McDonalds, although I have at times taken my own mugs to coffee shops.

  4. There are a couple of shops on 9 mile in Ferndale, both just west of Woodward. Neither is especially memorable nor deplorable. I think there's "beaners" on southbound Woodward just north of 9 mile, but I've never been there and think they're going to change their name soon because of the potential offensive nature of their name. I think there are still a couple of independents in Royal Oak too, but it's been a while since I've gone looking for them.

  5. i will be moving back to the d in a month or so and my wife is very concerned about her coffee shop options.  does anyone know of a coffee shop worthy of a discriminating (obsessive) palate?  she especially likes illy and intelligentsia....  i appreciate any and all suggestions

    I don't know of any Illy shops, but the only Intellegentsia coffee shop in Detroit-proper is (I forget the name, but something cute coffee like) in the Dime Building downtown.

    Last time I checked with Intelligentsia, they listed two other shops, but Cafe Detroit is sadly no longer and Jazzy Java in Rochester now roasts their own.

    Where in Detroit are you moving?

  6. Wow. I've had an X5 for about four years now and have never had any "major" problems like yours. But, I've found that FrancisFrancis/ILLY customer service not very consistent. You should contact their service company who I found to be very helpful and accessible. However, my machine was way out of warranty when I had to replace the boiler so I had to deal with them directly and they me if they wanted my business. But I would bet an email or phone call asking them what happened would be satisfying initially.



  7. vinegar making

    I just finished off a bottle of cheap grocery store white wine vinegar and discovered a vinegar mother...is it acceptable to use this or does it destine any future offspring to carry on it's low brow pedigree?

    I suspect you don't have mother from a grocery-store brand. Those vinegar's are generally pasteurized to kill unwanted bacteria. Of course you may have purchased one specifically unpasteurized or one with mother in it. But I was making some white wine vinegar a few months ago and grew something absurd in it. It was hard and lumpy and looked like a strange fruit.

    See these previous posts" vinegar making and making vinegar II

  8. I can't say I'm a fan of any of them any more. DD was great in college, but in my area I don't know of any stores that make their own donuts anymore. There seems to be some central station somewhere that supplies the DDs, gas stations, etc... KK's seem to be ok when they're warm, dry when they're not. TH never seemed to be good in the Detroit area, everything was a little heavy, dry, and old-tasting. I can't really stomach any of their coffees either.

    For my donuts the one or two independants in the area has to be place to go. (Dandee Donuts and Apple Fritter in the Detroit area, Roy's bakery in Houghton.) Forgo the coffee though.

  9. Does anybody here use the pile of stripped bones left over after an evening of beer and chicken wings to make stock?

    I was planning on tossing them into the bag of chicken bones we keep in the freezer, but I'm worried how the spices involved might affect the stock.

    Use them. What's in buffalo wings anyway but vinegar, chilies, and butter. Oh and maybe a bit of (pre-gnawed) celery. Although I'd probably try to wipe off some of the blue cheese.

  10. I seem to remember from my preservation days, that, depending on the number of pits, you could mix marble dust from your sanding process with a food-grade epoxy and fill the pits. There are similar stone and marble epoxies such as this, but I'm not sure if they are safe for food service.

    After reading the warning on the polikor product, I would say it's not recommended for food service. But there are probably similar food-grade products out there.

  11. The popularization of large espresso drinks well in excess of 8 oz by Starbucks and the like has led to most folks being accustomed to larger cups of very milky diluted espresso coffee drinks.  Back in the day a latte from a place in San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood was about 6-7 oz total - a shot of espresso topped with steamed milk.  Compare that with what is sold as a latte these days. 

    I would argue that greater milk availability/greater milk production per cow combined with aggressive ad campaigns (like Got Milk?) led to more milk in coffee in the late 1970s and 1980s prior to the Starbucks revolution (devolution). I would add that at that same time, the boomers were entering their prime, post-boomers were coming of age and entering the market and drawing the focus away from the WWII and depression generation used to dairy rationing. I swear my Dad prefers Postum to coffee, but won't admit it and I seem to recall some friends from college in the mid-80s who'd fix their coffee with 50% half-and-half and about 20 (I kid you not) teaspoons of sugar. (not a huge dataset, I know.)

    However, I also agree that Starbucks has had a profound effect on coffee consumption and palatability for the masses. But they can't charge $4.80 for a 7 oz. latte. ((Off topic: Despite all that's wrong with STBKS, their proliferation has certainly created a bigger market for coffee and if not for that demand and a minority connoisseurship, we would not have three coffee shops (two of which are decent) and one coffee cabin (none STBKS) in our remote part of Michigan.))

  12. I've found Peoples to have a pretty good selection and they can and will order things for you. Plus they have great prices too and will usually break case-quantities if you ask. Granted it is mostly restaurant-quality.

    Alcomos on Schaffer near Michigan in Dearborn is a great Italian market/deli. They were the only place in metro Detroit to carry veal bones when I needed them a couple of years ago. There was also a fantastic fish market right next door called "Fish Market," but I'm worried because they closed for renovations over a year ago and have not reopened.

    Down Schaffer past Ford Road is Joe and Eds, Lebanese market. There is a pretty good Asian Market, called " Redford's Asian Market" on Joy Road, one block east of Telegraph in Redford. Just around the corner on Telegraph, south of Joy is a Pier One outlet store whose prices, I don't understand why, can sometimes be higher than the actual store.

    Down Ford Road near Inkster road in Garden City (I think) are a couple of Indian markets. Unfortunately I don't recall the names but the phrase "Indian Market" is in there. I assume you've been to Rafals Spices and Rocky Peanut in Eastern Market; both pretty good although they can be expensive for some items.

    On Vernor near Clark in Detroit is the heart of Mexican Town with several great markets and bakeries. On Rochester Road in Troy are several additional Asian Markets as well as good Dim Sum at East Lake Chinese Restaurant. Also, Avalon Bakery on Willis at Cass in Detroit near Wayne State is great source for hand crafted breads.

    Also look for Dandee Donuts somewhere near Pontiac for the best donuts. I can't tell you where it is because I can never find it, but an internet search will generate a map.

    Don’t' forget Costco and Trader Joes.

    Merchants Wines in Dearborn, Royal Oak, and one other location is my favorite wine shop and twice a year they have mix and match case-sales, 20% off any twelve bottles. They also have a pretty good gourmet food section. Also Holiday Market in Royal Oak is pretty good. For higher end foods both prepared and shelved is Papa Joes on Telegraph in Birmingham.

    In Ann Arbor-Zingermans. You just need to go if you haven't already for remarkable specialty foods.

  13. I don't find the orange flesh sweet potatoes oxidize and discolor quickly but do watch them closely on the grill.  The burn easy.  I do these often when grilling a steak or burgers.  White potatoes or sweet both work well on the grill wilth little prep but slicing, seasoning and a light coat of oil.

    I agree, they burn pretty fast. I usually put them on a cooler part of the grill for a slower cook.

  14. A couple weeks ago I inadvertenly added too much flour to corn bread batter. I doubled everything else except the corn meal which I was out of at that point.

    The bread came out quite tasty, but with more body and chew than normal corn bread. So I wonder if you used 1/3 corn meal, 2/3 flour and yeast-raised the dough that it might give you good results. Sort of making a regular bread but using part corn meal instead.

    It also seems you could make a multi-grain bread with just corn meal added.

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